Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: Paperback, 394
Publication: June 14, 2012

Synopsis:
“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.


Review:

I wasn’t really expecting much when I picked this book up. I had had this book sitting on my shelf for a realllllyyy long time and thought that it was time to finally pick it up and read. It looked like something fun and light to entertain me. My expectations were low, but this book greatly exceeded any initial thoughts I had on My Life Next Door.

Samantha is a girl who lives a seemingly perfect life. Her family is wealthy, she has a best friend who she loves to death, and she’s smart. Everything that a girl could ask for, right? 

Wrong. For a long time, Sam had been sitting on her roof and staring at her neighbors, the Garretts, wishing that she could be a part of a family like that. They are everything that her and her family are not, and I think that’s what attracts her to them. So, on a random day, Sam finally talks to one of the Garretts, Jase.

From this point, Sam and Jase’s relationship starts to take form in a slow and beautiful way. There’s an initial physical attraction that Samantha observes, but, what I really liked about this relationship was that they started off as friends and developed into a romantic relationship. When they do get together, it’s cute and fun, like any high school relationship. It’s simple.

However, when Sam’s mom, Grace, commits an unforgivable crime, that’s when things get complicated. After the accident, Samantha’s thoughts about her mom and everything that had happened simultaneously frustrated me and made me sympathize with her. While the way Sam acts for the latter part of the novel frustrated me, it’s a 100% expected reaction for a teenage person. It’s realistic. Additionally, I really love the way that this problem was resolved, even if it seemed a little to convenient.

The best part of this novel, the thing that really made me fall in love with it, was its ending. It was very bittersweet. Friendships and families are broken, but it was somehow able to end on a hopeful note because of how these characters that you’ve grown to love become individuals that you respect and admire. When I read YA romances, I don’t typically expect this. I expect everything to be happy and completely resolved at the end, but this one didn’t do that, and I loved it.

In short:
My Life Next Door is a bittersweet story somehow manages to combine be the fun and awe of first love with a story about what it means to grow up and become your own person. It had me aww-ing out loud at several points, but nearly crying at others.

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